Social Media and Politics – Snapchat Experiencing a Bump in Political Advertising

It is no secret that for years now social media has been one of the main platforms for political advertising. It helps target specific groups, enables customized content and even allows for quick assessment of the success of the media campaigns. Not to mention that a lot of people these days feel comfortable openly discussing their political ideas and thought through social media channels like Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat. Not only does the social media extend the reach of the political message certain parties want to send, it allows politicians to be more direct in their communication with not just their voters but all the people interested in hearing what their platform has to say.

So, what is changing?

In recent years Facebook was one of the main social media channels used for political campaigns and promotions. But since we are seeing more and more younger users emigrating to Instagram and Snapchat, it was only a matter of time before political advertising followed. And with the election in the US around the corner, it is no wonder Snapchat is being very much included in all the campaigns. But reaching a younger demographic is not the only reason. Snapchat has taken certain steps to ensure its users that the adds reaching them go through fact-checking. Unlike Facebook whose founder Mark Zuckerberg has defended Facebook’s decision not to fact-check political advertising and Twitter going the other way and completely banning political adds.

What does this mean for Snapchat users?

Well, nothing much actually. Snapchat subjects all advertising to review, and political ads are no different. The fact of the matter is that Snapchats demographics are young users and first-time voters, and this social network wants to ensure that the information reaching them is real and true so that they can properly engage in the political conversation. This is, in fact, important for all sides. Political parties and candidates will get access to new voters whose minds they can change, convincing them to trust them with their first votes, but on the other hand, Snapchat users can feel safe knowing that their social network will not allow them to be exposed to false advertising coming from the political arena.

Why all the fuss about fact-based political ads?

All politicians lie, you have heard this many times over. But they are not permitted to do so, nor should they be allowed to share unsubstantiated claims via social media, and not just share them but also use paid ads in order to reach as many voters as possible. For example, earlier this year, Facebook allowed President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign to post a baseless ad about Joe Biden on its platform, stirring criticism over the company’s ad policies. This has led to a conversation regarding the role social media channels have when it comes to moderating what is being published by political parties and candidates. With Snapchat being one of the few willing to actually fact-check adds and claims before allowing them to reach their users.

What does all this mean financially?

Well, it is simple, so far US presidential candidates have spent $105 million on digital ads that is from the moment big tech platforms and social media giants started tracking them last year. Of that total, more than $67 million has been spent on Facebook while $32 million went to Google. Now, when it comes to Snapchat, the numbers are not as big, however, candidates in the 2020 presidential election have spent $232,825 on Snapchat ads. Yes, this seems small, in comparison to others but in reality, it is growing rapidly due to the fact-checking policy in place and the opportunity to reach younger voters and those who will cast their vote for the first time in 2020. This is one of the major reasons we are now seeing a far greater bump in the usage of Snapchat for political advertising and can expect to see even more as the election day approaches.

It is always interesting to follow what changes the social media platforms have instore for us. Especially considering such a large portion of our time is spent browsing through these channels and creating content of our own, so we do value the fact that the adds coming our way are not fake or half-truths, and that is why Snapchat is experiencing such a huge bump in political advertising. Whether or not it is successful we will see after the 2020 elections.